Be a Scientist for the Day | Charlotte’s got a lot | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Be a Scientist for the Day

Regardless of how you fared in Chemistry 101, there are plenty of opportunities to explore, experiment and get closer to the natural world in Charlotte—no final exam necessary. Unearth your inner scientist at these local spots brimming with phenomena just begging to be studied.

By Lauren Levine

Engage in thought-provoking exhibits
Discovery Place shakes up the traditional educational experience with interactive, engaging exhibits. The museum’s “Beyond Rubik’s Cube” exhibit, which runs through Sept. 15, shows visitors how the iconic puzzle came to be and how its principles have been applied to the scientific fields of technology, robotics, engineering and more. Be sure to also check out the “Cool Stuff” exhibit, where you’ll be challenged to understand energy transfer, air pressure, chemical reactions and beyond through a bed of nails attraction, vacuum-powered chair lift and more.

Master the science of motorsports
Dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and heritage of NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame offers a wealth of educational experiences that demonstrate science’s distinct role in motorsports. Interactive exhibits—like Glory Road’s 33-degree banking and the pit crew challenge’s tire-changing station—reveal concepts of friction, aerodynamics, force and motion, and gravity. In August and September, explore how wind tunnels work, see an engine in motion or discover the laws of motion in action by building a racecar in the new SPARK! Full Throttle Experience.  

Gain extraordinary perspectives
Be prepared for an otherworldly journey when you visit The James H. Lynn Planetarium at The Schiele Museum of Natural History. The planetarium uses projectors and high-definition effects to give visitors an unforgettable perspective on everything from nature to outer space and the inner workings of the human body. Spend an afternoon at the museum stargazing, seeing gravity at work, tracing constellations and mapping the trail of energy that creates our weather systems.

Three to See

  1. The McDowell Nature Preserve is home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Take an in-depth look at local flora and fauna—from endangered and protected species to the more familiar—as you hike one of nine trails or participate in public education programs. The preserve also offers volunteer opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to help beautify the area.
  2. Located in Huntersville, Discovery Place KIDS - Huntersville creates an age-appropriate learning experience for budding scientists by focusing on sensory-rich exhibits. Try out chemistry experiments, play with colors or learn about physics in a fun, hands-on way that will delight young visitors.
  3. Whether they crawl, fly, scurry or simply grow from the ground you can learn about all life forms at the Charlotte Nature Museum. Fascinating exhibits, like “Insect Alley,” explore etymology and the unique science behind the adaptation habits of plants and animals. Find out why fireflies light up, how the presence of certain plants can affect birds’ migration patterns and how we can all practice conservation strategies to preserve ecosystems.

This article ran in the August 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.

View more adventures in Charlotte.

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